Brazilian GP: Lewis Hamilton leads opening Friday F1 practice

Lewis Hamilton began his bid for a first Brazilian Grand Prix victory by leading the way in the opening Formula 1 practice session at Interlagos

Brazilian GP: Lewis Hamilton leads opening Friday F1 practice

The three-time champion, in the headlines over the past 24 hours following a road car accident in Monaco earlier this week he put down to "heavy partying", shrugged aside the incident to comfortably outpace Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

The German swept practice and claimed pole position en route to victory a year ago, and came into this weekend fresh from his recent triumph over Hamilton in the last race in Mexico.

But it was Hamilton, who has also been struggling with a fever this week, who set the pace with a 1m13.543s on Pirelli's medium-compound rubber.

The 30-year-old ended the 90-minute session, run in warm, dry conditions, just over half a second clear of Rosberg, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel a further tenth of a second adrift in third.

Hamilton had also led after the first half-hour with the additional set of tyres, just 0.021s clear of Rosberg at that point, with Vettel almost six tenths of a second further back.

It was not until the session was 55 minutes old that Vettel jumped to the top, moving just over two tenths clear of Hamilton, only to be swiftly deposed by Rosberg.

Five minutes later Hamilton then swept the board through the sectors in posting his leading lap, although a couple of minutes either side of that he endured lock ups into the Senna S, running wide on both occasions.

With 22 minutes remaining Hamilton then complained of a "weird" feeling and vibrations in the clutch as he left the garage on another run, leading to a swift return, although he did emerge later on for a longer stint.

Daniel Ricciardo, running Renault's upgraded power unit this weekend for which he will be hit with a 10-place grid penalty, was fourth quickest in his Red Bull, and the only other driver to finish within a second of Hamilton.

Team-mate Daniil Kvyat was two tenths behind Ricciardo in sixth, with Kimi Raikkonen splitting the duo in his Ferrari, finishing 1.006s off the pace, although with the Finn spinning into the gravel with 10 minutes remaining.

Valtteri Bottas was 1.343s down in his seventh, followed by Max Verstappen, who survived his own early spin through the sweeping Turn 3 left-hander, to eventually finish eighth quickest.

Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado completed the top 10.

The Venezuelan's team-mate for next year Jolyon Palmer, again replacing the Haas-bound Romain Grosjean for first practice, finished 12th and just 0.160s behind Maldonado.

McLaren duo Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso were split by a mere 0.034s in 13th and 16th, while in his last race of his short spell for Manor, Alexander Rossi got the better of Will Stevens, albeit with the duo both over four seconds down at the rear of the field.

PRACTICE ONE TIMES:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m13.543s - 28
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m14.062s 0.519s 36
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m14.168s 0.625s 27
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m14.449s 0.906s 27
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m14.549s 1.006s 20
6 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m14.696s 1.153s 25
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m14.886s 1.343s 25
8 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m14.960s 1.417s 38
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m15.174s 1.631s 33
10 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m15.192s 1.649s 31
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1m15.314s 1.771s 38
12 Jolyon Palmer Lotus/Mercedes 1m15.352s 1.809s 33
13 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m15.379s 1.836s 28
14 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m15.381s 1.838s 29
15 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m15.408s 1.865s 32
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m15.413s 1.870s 29
17 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m15.469s 1.926s 24
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m15.798s 2.255s 34
19 Alexander Rossi Marussia/Ferrari 1m17.860s 4.317s 23
20 Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 1m18.090s 4.547s 22

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